Thursday, November 19, 2015

The collegiate cross country season ends Saturday in Louisville, Joplin and Oshkosh...

The collegiate cross country season roars to a close Saturday, as Washington, Washington State, Gonzaga, Eastern Washington, Seattle Pacific, Western Washington, Whitworth, Puget Sound, and Pacific Lutheran will have teams and/or individual runners racing at their respective championships.


The big schools will race at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky, with Washington qualifying both squads, Washington State a men’s team, and Gonzaga’s women’s team qualifying for for the first time in school history.

Washington is one of seventeen schools to qualify both its men’s and women’s teams to the NCAA Championships, which has a field of 31 men’s and 31 women’s teams. The men are appearing for the second straight year, looking to improve on last year’s 20th-place finish, while the women have qualified for a ninth consecutive season, having placed 23rd last year. The men are now 11th and the women are #12 in the final coaches poll before nationals.

The Huskies are led by Izaic Yorks (left/photo by Paul Merca), their front runner for all but one race this season, and by All-American Tyler King, who broke through with his fifth place finish at the regionals in Seattle last week.

The Washington State men’s team makes their first appearance at the nationals since Pete Julian took the Cougars to the 2011 championships in Terre Haute, where they placed 21st. They're led by John Whelan, and Michael Williams, who finished second and third at the Seattle regionals to lead the #25 Cougars to a fourth place finish.  Both runners look to become the first to earn All-America honors since Bernard Lagat and Eric Kamau did so in 1998.

The Husky women's team makes its ninth straight appearance, and look to improve on their 23rd place finish last year, led by their All-American Maddie Meyers, who was third at the Seattle regionals. Meyers has been the Dawgs' top runner in all of their races, save for the opening race against SeattleU on September 1st.

For the Bulldogs of Gonzaga, Saturday marks the first time in school history that they’ve qualified a squad of either sex for the big dance.  The WCC champions are led by Shelby Mills, the senior from Snohomish who goes into the national championship full of confidence after a breakout 2015 season, where she qualified for the NCAA championships in the steeple last spring, won the WCC title, and finished seventh at the regionals.

Former Big Sky cross country champ Sarah Reiter of Eastern Washington and Gonzaga’s Matthew Crichlow will race as individual competitors.  Reiter finished ninth in the women’s race at the Seattle regionals, while Crichlow was 18th in the men’s race.  

Reiter, who attended Renton’s Lindbergh HS, is the fourth Eagle in school history to qualify for the national championship race, while Crichlow, a graduate of Meadowvale HS makes school history by becoming the first from Gonzaga to qualify.

Some key athletes with Washington ties to watch include Boise State’s Brenna Peloquin from Gig Harbor, who finished fourth in the Seattle regionals, and North Carolina State’s Meron Simon, as the UW grad, competing as a grad student for the Wolfpack, finished fourth in the Southeast regionals in Earlysville, Virginia.

Saturday’s NCAA Division I cross country championships at Tom Sawyer State Park will be webcast on beginning at 9am, pacific with the women’s 6k, followed by the men’s 10k at 10am.


The Western Washington and Seattle Pacific women’s teams will represent the state of Washington in Saturday’s NCAA Division II championship in Joplin, Missouri.

The Vikings were second at the West Regionals on November 7th at Monmouth, Oregon, led by Taylor Guenther’s sixth place finish.  Western is currently ranked #8 in the final regular season USTFCCCA national coaches’ poll, the school’s second highest ranking since joining NCAA Division II.

Western looks to top their best finish at the nationals, which was an eighth place finish in 2009.

Seattle Pacific goes to Joplin on the heels of a fifth place finish in the Monmouth regionals, snatching the last spot to nationals away from Central Washington by five points.  The Falcons are led by season-long top runner Anna Patti, who was fourth in the regional championships.  

In their last appearance at the nationals, the Falcons finished 21st in Spokane in 2013.  They enter the national championships ranked #20 in the country.

The women’s 6k championship race gets underway at 8 am pacific time.


The Whitworth Pirates will send a women’s team to the NCAA Division III championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on Saturday.

The Pirates earned their spot after finishing third in the NCAA West Regionals on November 14th in Claremont, California, led by Kellyn Roiko’s fourth place finish, running 21:53 for 6k.  Whitworth is ranked #14 in the final regular season USTFCCCA Division III poll.

On the men’s side, Tyler Shipley of Puget Sound won the West regional meet, running the 8k distance in 25:05.  Pacific Lutheran freshman Brad Hodkinson was fourth in 25:35, followed by Geremia Lizier-Zmudzinski of UPS in 25:50.

Whitworth’s Christopher MacMurray was 11th in 26:06.

All four runners were among the top seven individuals whose teams did not qualify for the NCAA championship race, as only the top two teams in each of the eight regional races advanced, along with 16 at large squads selected by the NCAA D3 committee.

All three NCAA championship races will be webcast on  The NCAA and Prime Time Timing created a live results link to all three races, which can be accessed here. will be in Louisville to cover the NCAA Division I championship races.

NOTE:  The University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington, Gonzaga, Western Washington, Seattle Pacific, Whitworth University, the NCAA, and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

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